The Lyncean Group of San Diego (Lynceans) consists of retired and semi-retired technical professionals who meet regularly to discuss subjects associated with science and technology, to learn from one another, to share thoughts and ideas, and to enjoy a mutual interest in science, technology and related fields.
The group has two main objectives: (1) increase our collective knowledge in areas that are of interest to one or more members, and (2) assist those who are not professionals in technical and scientific fields to learn more about the natural sciences and to develop some appreciation for its discipline and beauty.
The Lyncean Group of San Diego was formed in late 2002 by a small group of of retired or nearly retired scientists and engineers. Many were involved in the early days of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and several are from Caltech. The name “Lyncean” comes from the Italian academy of science and literature Accademia dei Lincei (or anglicised as the Lincean Academy) formed by Federico Cesi in 1603 and popularized by Galileo. The academy was named after the lynx, an animal whose sharp vision symbolizes the observational prowess that science requires. The San Diego founding group decided to achieve its objectives by arranging to meet periodically for lunch and invite a speaker to talk about a topic that would both educate and spark discussion. The first talk was in early 2003 and, after more than 120 such meetings, this basic format has continued through today.
The group had broad interests and this was reflected in the topics that were chosen for the first series of talks, which included titles such as “Cosmology”, “The Calculus of Finance”, “Arctic Exploration”, “Solar Energy and Quality of Life”, “Water in the 21st Century”, “Dark Energy”, “Quantum Computers”, “Global Climate Change”, “Beneath the Gioconda Veil”, “Table-Top Simulation of Nuclear Bursts”, “A-Bomb Survivor Dosimetry”, “The Ghost Particle (The Neutrino)”, and “Pebble Bed Modular Reactor”. The latter topics reflect the strong interest and experience in nuclear-related fields.
The meetings were generally held at either the Fleet Science Center (FSC) in San Diego’s Balboa Park or the Southwestern Yacht Club (SWYC) on Point Loma. Today, most of the meetings are held at the SWYC, which has ample parking and provides a pleasant environment for lunch and discussion.
In order to become a member of the Lyncean Group, an individual must be recommended by an existing member of the group. In order to retain membership in good standing, a member is expected to participate in Group activities whenever possible and to pay all approved assessments.
There are no regular membership dues for the Lyncean Group. The Treasurer will collect assessments, approved by the membership at regular meetings, to cover costs as they occur (usually just the cost of lunch, which is typically around $20).
Meetings are usually scheduled several months in advance. Meeting dates will be published on the web site, along with information about the topic, speaker, and location. Currently most of the meetings are held at the Southwestern Yacht Club on Point Loma. A meeting notice will be sent by e-mail to all members several weeks before each meeting.
Time is set aside in all meetings to provide a forum in which any member may bring up items of current interest for discussion. This forum also offers an opportunity for members to share information, references, or personal contacts that may be valuable to individuals or the entire group.
The Lyncean Group of San Diego has established a web site (lynceans.org) to communicate activities to the membership. The website includes information about the next meeting, provides access to past presentation material (if allowed by the speaker), and provides links to other topics of interest through the Pete’s Lynx page.